Early in May 1884 RLS again fell very dangerously ill with hemorrhage of the lungs, and lay for several weeks between life and death.
[For correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1276.]
To Edmund Gosse [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 219-220]
[La Solitude, Hyères] From my bed, May 29, 1884
The news of the Professorate found me in the article of – well, of heads or tails; I am still in bed, and a very poor person. You must thus excuse my damned delay; but, I assure you, I was delighted.
You will believe me the more, if I confess to you that my first sentiment was envy; yes, sir, on my blood-boltered couch I envied the professor.
However, it was not of long duration; the double thought that you deserved and that you would thoroughly enjoy your success fell like balsam on my wounds. How came it that you never communicated my rejection of Gilder’s offer for the Rhone?
But it matters not. Such earthly vanities are over for the present. This has been a fine well-conducted illness. A month in bed; a month of silence; a fortnight of not stirring my right hand; a month of not moving without being lifted. Come! Ça y est: devilish like being dead. – Yours, dear Professor, academically,
I am soon to be moved to Royat; an invalid valet goes with me! I got him cheap – second-hand.
In turning over my late friend Ferrier’s commonplace book, I find three poems from Viol and Flute copied out in his hand: ‘When Flower-time,’ ‘Love in Winter,’ and ‘Mistrust.’ They are capital too. But I thought the fact would interest you. He was no poetist either; so it means the more. ‘Love in W.!’ I like the best.